A look at the latest chapter in Omega’s long-running collaboration with the James Bond films…
James Bond’s original watch of choice, starting with 1962’s Dr. No starring Sean Connery, was the Rolex Submariner — a suitably iconic timepiece for the soon-to-be world’s most famous secret agent. Rolexes, many of them fitted with special gadgets courtesy of Q-Branch, continued to be part of 007’s arsenal through the Roger Moore era up to 1989’s License to Kill, Timothy Dalton’s second and last appearance as Bond. Starting with 1995’s GoldenEye however, the Omega Seamaster more or less replaced the Submariner as 007’s watch of choice, gracing the wrist of newly minted Bond Pierce Brosnan.
The official story goes that Oscar-winning costume designer Lindy Hemming, brought on to help refresh the franchise when Brosnan took over the role, chose Omega as 007’s new watch because her father had served in the Royal Air Force, whereas Bond is a Royal Navy officer. Omega, established in Switzerland in 1848, was for a time official supplier of dive watches to Britain’s Ministry of Defence. And Bond has been wearing Omegas — specifically numerous versions of the Seamaster Diver 300 — ever since.
Daniel Craig has worn 11 different Omegas on screen since he became Bond in 2006, and for the latest film, the franchise’s 25th (and reportedly Craig’s last appearance as 007), No Time To Die, he helped design a timepiece that both honours Bond’s legacy and helps him get the job done in style. The new Seamaster Diver 300M 007 Edition is sized at 42mm and crafted from Grade 2 Titanium, and its looks are decidedly retro, thanks to military styling and an aged brown colouring used on the markers and numerals that echoes the “tropical” hue certain vintage watch dials acquire over time, increasing their desirability.
“When working with Omega, we decided that a lightweight watch would be key for a military man like 007,” Craig says, hence the use of titanium, which is both lighter and stronger than many forms of steel. “I also suggested some vintage touches and colours to give the watch a unique edge.” Omega states it was “purposefully built with military needs in mind,” and Craig says the finished product “looks incredible.” It is also slightly slimmer than the standard Seamaster Diver 300M models, because Craig also wanted it to fit comfortably under the cuff of the custom-made dress shirts he wears while saving the world. On the watch’s case back is a series of numbers that follow the format for British military-issue watches. It starts with 0552, a naval code number, followed by 923 7697, the designation for a divers’ watch, while the letter A signifies a screw-in crown. Then 007 which is, of course, Bond’s iconic agent number, while the final digits, 62, refer to the year of the very first Bond film. It is available on either a titanium mesh bracelet or a NATO-style nylon strap reminiscent of regimental British military colours, à la the early Bond films. Powered by Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8806 movement, the watch is water-resistant to 30 bar, or about 1,000 feet.
“It’s important that Bond has the kind of luxury accessory that fits him,” Omega CEO and President Raynald Aeschlimann adds, “because he has the character of being on one side an incredible adventurer with a lot of missions, and on the other side, a gentleman.” The new timepiece is also being made available to the public for aspiring secret agents and watch collectors in general.
Craig’s enthusiasm for Omega might even predate 2006’s Casino Royale, when he was issued his first secret service Seamaster Diver 300M, now a prized possession that “never leaves the safe in my closet,“ he told Bloomberg. He recalled that while working in Budapest years ago, he bought a vintage Omega in a sad state of disrepair, which was later restored for him.
“That was the beginning, really, when my collection of watches and my interest in watches started by being involved with Omega through Bond,” he remembered. “The history of these watches, the history with the [British] navy and the marines, it seems so much bigger than Bond” — and yet so eminently suitable for an officer and a gentleman who knows when it’s time to stop playing by the rules.
Text by JARED PAUL STERN